Overcoming addiction to substances like alcohol is a major accomplishment in anyone’s life. The reason for this is that despite the personal nature of this struggle, it is universally challenging to accomplish. It involves confronting personal limitations and having the courage to acknowledge and then overcome them, and that is not something many people do.
But the challenge to overcome an alcohol addiction is a long one, and for some, it never really ends. Every day is a part of this battle, and that’s why even when the initial rehabilitation ends, there is a very important component that follows, and this is known as Aftercare. There’s no denying that getting through the initial rehabilitation program is an accomplishment in and of itself. What happens afterwards—and every day after that—is what will make the difference between overcoming the addiction for life, and needing to rehabilitate again.
The Real Fight Begins
In many ways, the idea of aftercare is similar to the average, everyday wish to lose weight. Some people undergo a drastic routine of dieting that gets the weight off quickly, but once the diet is over, that short burst of frenzied activity must now be sustained in a gentler, more realistic fashion for the long haul if the weight is to be kept off. In the same way, once the intensity of rehabilitation is over, the biggest challenge of recovery is maintaining this new recovered state, every day, without the constant professional support network of the initial rehabilitation program.
It’s easy to avoid alcohol when a staff member is working with an addict and supervising the process. The true test of success comes from being able to maintain that sobriety independently. This doesn’t mean that aftercare is something that must be undertaken alone, far from it, in fact. In many cases of addiction, isolation and alienation are parts of the experience that lead to addiction in the first place. Similarly, a support group of people going through the same experience, able to talk about it openly and encourage each other is an important aspect of aftercare.
The Need for a Plan
A treatment plan is also important. It is unfair and unreasonable to expect a recovering addict to adhere to perfect behavior. Addicts are painfully human and temptation comes in many forms. A treatment plan is way for people in recovery to understand what situations cause a desire to return to an addiction, which feelings are triggers, and what coping mechanisms can be used when the temptation to drink arises.
This is a crucial aspect of aftercare, and is the cornerstone of recovery; because it is what people do when the temptation arises that determines how successful their recovery will be. And this is a battle that will be fought again and again as the days, weeks, months and years go by.
A final, important factor of the aftercare process is making sure that the personal support network of the person in recovery is informed. Family and friends will be especially crucial in helping someone in recovery stick to their commitment. People within that network that do not understand this, or would actively derail the process by encouraging past behavior to re-emerge should be avoided. This is a new phase of life, and it should be treated as such.
Rehabilitation is the first, important battle that must be won in alcohol addiction. But it is the aftercare, and the commitment to follow it, that will win the war in once recovery moves to normal, everyday life. At Beachway, we have a solid aftercare program as part of our highly effective alcohol rehabilitation program. Call 877-284-0353 today if you or someone you are about needs help.